RSS Feed

Raspberry Cupcakes

IMG_5103

I made these colourful and flavourful bright pink raspberry cupcakes a while back when I was experimenting with colour in cakes. I’m posting again, as it’s such a simple and eye-catching recipe. The cake mixture has frozen raspberries in it and drop or two of red food colouring.

The buttercream icing has red fondant creme mixed through, plus a touch more red food colouring.  Fondant creme or paste is available at specialty kitchen shops. I get mine from The Essential Ingredient in Sydney. If you can’t get the fondant creme, just leave it out – red food colouring will easily give you the colour you need.

I decorated with a few crystallized rose petals – fresh petals would be pretty too!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

Handful of frozen raspberries

Raspberry Buttercream Icing

50g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tblsp raspberry fondant creme

A drop of red food colouring

Method

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tin with cup cake cases.

Put all the ingredients except the milk and raspberries in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Carefully fold in the raspberries.

Spoon mixture into the cases, filling the cases equally.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and golden on top.

Take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Ice with the raspberry buttercream icing.

Raspberry Buttercream Icing

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until combined, then add the lemon juice, raspberry fondant creme and a drop of red food colouring, beating continuously.

IMG_5028

Save

Save

Blood Orange Curd and Homemade Croissants

IMG_2697IMG_2664

Two favourite breakfast treats are croissants and a citrus curd. I usually make lemon curd, but with the abundance of blood oranges in Sydney in August, it was a no brainer to turn the juice of the blood oranges into curd!

When I have the time,  I love making croissants. It’s a labour of love but the results are so worth it! The recipe for these home-made croissants is from a previous post “Croissants and Danish Pastries”

IMG_2314

So here is the recipe for the curd. Whether you make your own croissants or buy them, serving them with lashings of blood orange curd is delish!

Blood Orange Curd

Ingredients

125ml blood orange juice, strained

155g caster sugar

100g butter, chopped

4 free-range egg yolks, lightly whisked

Method

Place the orange juice, sugar, butter and egg yolks in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.

Pour curd into sterilised jars and seal. Set aside to cool. The curd can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month. I discovered recently that curd freezes well. Put the curd into ziplock bags and freeze. The mixture stays semi-liquid and can be used when it come back to room temperature.

IMG_2703

Save

Save

Save

Strawberry and Raspberry Naked Layer Cake

IMG_2586

The occasion was the visit to Sydney of Quirky Nieces 1 and 3. So afternoon tea was in order. I am fascinated by naked cakes, and the technique of “less is more”.  I love the chance to practise naked icing. I still need lots of practice, as my icing is more rustic than naked!

The cake I created was Strawberry and Raspberry Naked Layer Cake. Three layers of vanilla butter cake, sandwiched with berry jam, fresh strawberries and raspberry fondant buttercream. The cake was “naked” iced with more raspberry fondant buttercream and then decorated.

Not that difficult either! I made the vanilla cake with the one bowl method. The buttercream was made with the addition of raspberry fondant creme, readily obtainable at cake making supply stores. It’s actually used to make the filling for homemade chocolates, but microwaved carefully, can be added to buttercream for flavour and colour. Icing and decorating can take as little or long as you like, depending on how fancy you want to go.

IMG_2583

 

Ingredients

250g self-raising flour

250g caster sugar

250g butter

4 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tblsp milk

2 tbls berry jam (I used a tablespoon each of strawberry and raspberry jams)

A dozen or so fresh strawberries cut into thirds.

Fresh strawberries, edible gold glitter, crystallized rose petals,  more raspberry fondant creme, flowers, to decorate

Raspberry Fondant Buttercream Icing

250g butter, softened

500g icing sugar, sifted

1 tblsp raspberry fondant creme (If you can’t source this just use red food colour and raspberry essence or just the food colour)

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C fan. Grease 3 x 18cm (7 inch) cake tins.

Put all the ingredients except the vanilla extract and milk in to the bowl of an electric mixer. I uses my wonderful KitchenAid. (And a big thank you to Dr Rosemary for my beautiful new glass mixing bowl!) Mix for about a minute or so until everything is well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and milk and beat for a further 20 seconds or until well combined.

Spoon mixture into the 3 tins  filling the tins equally.

Place the tins in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cakes are golden on top, and spring back when touched.

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes or so on wire racks. When cool, carefully turn out the cakes.

To make raspberry fondant buttercream icing, with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and icing sugar until combined and soft and creamy. You may need to add a drop or two of milk if the mixture is too stiff. Gently microwave the raspberry fondant creme on low until it soft and liquid and add it to the buttercream. Don’t overheat the fondant as it will boil and turn into red toffee!  I’ve been there…

Spread the bottom layer with buttercream, then top with jam and cut strawberries. Place the next layer on top, and repeat the buttercream, jam and strawberry layers. Place the last cake layer on top. Roughly ice the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the buttercream using a palette knife. When you get to the sides, occasionally dip the palette knife into cold water as you ice to remove some of the thicker icing and to create the “naked icing” effect.  The idea is that the top of the cake is well iced and that the side sides are stripped back for a rustic look.

Decorate with anything you fancy – I decorated with the bits and pieces mentioned in Ingredients above.

IMG_2628IMG_2590

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Brown Sugar Pavlova

 

IMG_2199

I made some mini brown sugar pavlovas recently, see here for my previous post. The brown sugar – in this case mixed with raw sugar – gives the pavlovas quite a caramel kick. They’re a little more flavourful than the usual pav.

This recipe is not strictly a pavlova, which is a meringue dessert, in one layer, usually with sides and an indentation in the middle to hold the filling. I made two meringue discs which I sandwiched together with cream. If it had been a little more finessed, I would have called it a vacherin. I’ve made a couple of these for the blog in the past, too. But I’m still calling my rustic two layer meringue a pavlova, which it really isn’t! A pav by any other name…

IMG_2191

Ingredients

6 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

175g raw caster sugar

85g  soft brown sugar

1 tbls cornflour

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Filling

200ml  cream

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Crushed Malteasers

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Draw 2 large circles (about 24cm) on baking paper on 2 baking trays.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Add the raw caster sugar and brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the cornflour and vinegar.

Pile the mixture onto the circles on the baking paper and spread into shape with a spatula. Place the baking trays in the oven and reduce the temperature immediately to 130 degrees C. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then turn off the oven, prop the door ajar and leave the pavlova discs until completely cooled.

Once cooled, carefully peel away the baking paper. Choose the best pavlova disc for the top. Put the other disc onto your serving platter, upside down so that the flat, baked side is uppermost. whip the cream with the vanilla paste. Spoon the whipped cream onto the bottom layer, then sandwich with the top layer. Crush some Malteasers and scatter randomly over the pavlova.

IMG_2188

Here’s a quick video montage for Brown Sugar Pavlova:

Save

Save

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Jalapeño Tomato Salsa: Everyday Super Food

IMG_2498

Another simple, tasty and healthy recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Everyday Super Food. The dish is more of an assembly than a complicated cooking procedure. If you can bake sweet potato, fry beans, cook rice, and make a salsa you have this dish covered!

My decided to cook the black beans instead of using tinned beans. Probably a mistake – soaking and cooking took so much time!  The rest was easy peasy, and the dish looked as tasty as it was.

Ingredients

2 x 200g sweet potatoes

100g brown rice

250g mixed colour tomatoes

2 spring onions

1 x 200g jar jalopeños

1/2 bunch coriander

1 red onion

olive oil

1 level tsp cumin seeds

1 x400g tin black beans

2 heaped tsps cottage cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Wash the sweet potatoes, then season and roast for 1 hour or until cooked through. After 30 minutes, cook the rice according to packet instructions or your favourite method, then drain. Roughly drop the tomatoes, finely slice the spring onions and place both in a bowl. Tip the jalopeños and their liquid into a blender or food processor putting in most of the coriander, reserving some leaves for decoration. Blitz until smooth, then return the mixture to the jar, using 2 tablespoons to dress the tomatoes and spring onions. The remaining dressing can be used for other meals.

Peel and finely slice the onion. Put a pan on medium heat on the stove top with 1 teaspoon of oil and the cumin seeds. Fry for 30 seconds then stir in the onion and a splash of water. Cook and stir for 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened, then add the beans and all their juice. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes or until thick and oozy, stirring occasionally. Taste and season, loosening with splash or two of boiling water if needed.

Divide the beans, rice and tomato salsa between plates. Split open the sweet potatoes and add one to each plate. Spoon over the cottage cheese, season with black pepper and finish with the reserved coriander leaves.

IMG_2487

 

Save

Save

Save

Coffee and Walnut Cake

IMG_2461

Here is a very easy recipe for a coffee and walnut cake. It’s almost  a “one bowl” cake  –  you only need to add the coffee and walnuts  to the basic mix at the end. Cook as two layers and fill and ice with buttercream as I did, or make one larger cake, or you could even make twelve cupcakes! It’s such a versatile recipe.

Ingredients

Cake

50g ground almonds

125g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tsps instant coffee powder

2 tbls milk

50g chopped walnuts + a few extra for decorating

Buttercream Icing

125g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

2 tsp instant coffee

1 tbls milk

Method

The Cakes

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Generously butter two 18cm (7″) cake tins.

Put all the ingredients except the milk, coffee and walnuts into an electric mixer and mix until smooth and well incorporated. Dissolve the instant coffee into the milk, and add together with the chopped walnuts into the mixture.

Divide the batter equally between the two tins.  Place the tins in the oven and bake for 25- 30 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and golden on top, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave in the tins for 5 minutes before carefully turning out of the tins to cool on a wire rack.

Buttercream Icing

In a food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light an fluffy. Dissolve the instant coffee into the milk. Add this mixture to the icing, process until light and creamy.

To assemble

When cakes are completely cool, spread half of the buttercream icing on the bottom layer, and top with the second layer.

Roughly ice the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the buttercream using a palette knife. When you get to the sides, occasionally dip the palette knife into cold water as you ice to remove some of the thicker icing and to create the “naked icing” effect.  The idea is that the top of the cake is well iced and that the side sides are stripped back for a rustic look.  I’m still mastering the naked icing effect! Place the reserved walnuts on the top of the cake for decoration, or add a flower or two.

IMG_2449

IMG_2477

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Bills in Sydney’s Darlinghurst: Fab Food, Fab Vibe

 

IMG_2780IMG_2779

I’m a long time fan of Bill Granger and his food. His iconic first restaurant, bills in Darlinghurst, is a favourite place for breakfast or lunch – and it’s just around the corner from where I work.

Bill is an Aussie who now has restaurants worldwide, which all reflect his ethos for food and dining. When you walk into bills in Darlinghurst, the vibe is friendly, warm and generous. No pretensions here! The communal table is great, allowing everyone to share in each others’ dining experiences as you observe the delicious dishes being served to fellow diners.

As Bill says: ‘This is where it all began, in 1992. bills Darlinghurst is where I did my growing up. The miniscule kitchen and tiny dining room in one of Darlo’s old backstreet pub buildings set the tone for what we still do today. Local by-laws allowed us only a few seats – hence the now much-copied communal table where everyone ate together, reading the newspaper or striking up a conversation with the person enjoying scrambled eggs next to them. Today, it’s still a simple Sydney corner café, serving a menu of bills classics.’

There are some dishes that bills is famous for – creamy scrambled eggs, utterly moreish ricotta pancakes with banana and honeycomb butter and sweet corn fritters with roast tomato, spinach and bacon. These two latter dishes are breakfast through to lunch and I’ve had both at either end of the morning! Bills burgers are pretty good too, the wagyu burger, with grilled swiss, pickled green chilli, herb mayo, rocket and fries is one of the Darlo offerings.

Another favourite on bills menus is the Aussie pavlova, and, as readers of other of my posts know, that’s a version of meringue of which I am very fond, possibly even obsessed… The Darlo bills version is a brown sugar pavlova, with rhubarb, pistachio and rosewater yoghurt.  I ate this recently and had to go home and instantly recreate my own version, see my Brown Sugar Pav post here.

The rest is in the photos. I’m regret I don’t have a photo of the scrambled eggs or wagyu burger – oh well, I will need to visit bills again soon I guess!

433 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

http://www.bills.com.au/

IMG_2358

 

IMG_2345-1

 

Save

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 132 other followers

%d bloggers like this: